Speech Technology Magazine


Biographical Information

Susan L. Hura

Susan L. Hura, Ph.D., is the founder of SpeechUsability, a consultancy focusing on improving the user experience by incorporating user-centered design practices in speech technology projects. Susan started and managed the usability program at Intervoice as their Head of User Experience, and prior to that worked a member of the human factors team at a Lucent Technologies, providing experience in user interface design, usability testing, and speech acoustics. She held a faculty position at Purdue University in the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences where she cofounded a multidisciplinary research team dedicated to studying novel approaches to computer speech recognition. Susan holds a doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a frequent invited presenter at speech technology and usability conferences, and serves on the Board of Directors of AVIOS (the Applied Voice Input Output Society).

Articles By Susan L. Hura

With Voice Systems, Hiding Complexity Is a Must

Added functionality shouldn't equal a burden on users
Posted 01 Aug 2016 - Fall 2016 Issue - by Susan L. Hura

Rules of Design Engagement

Share design thinking for the most effective buy-in.
Posted 02 Feb 2015 - Spring 2015 Issue - by Susan L. Hura

In Praise of User Research

Consider this solution to reel in elusive answers.
Posted 28 Jul 2014 - Fall 2014 - by Susan L. Hura

A Foolish Consistency in User Interfaces

When serving customers, a little change can be a good thing.
Posted 10 Feb 2014 - Spring 2014 - by Susan L. Hura

The Perils of PIN Proliferation

Why is secure identification so difficult?
Posted 12 Aug 2013 - Fall 2013 - by Susan L. Hura

When Bad IVRs Are Good Enough

Users accustomed to substandard systems can't imagine any better.
Posted 10 Feb 2013 - Spring 2013 - by Susan L. Hura

VUI Designers Know Cross-Channel Design

Mobile apps raise expectations—and the bar.
Posted 10 Nov 2012 - November/December 2012 - by Susan L. Hura

Usability Testing Connects the Dots

This valuable tool offers unique insights into caller motivations.
Posted 10 Jul 2012 - July/August 2012 - by Susan L. Hura

May I Have Your Attention, Please?

When designing an IVR, consider the impact of caller distraction.
Posted 01 Mar 2012 - March/April 2012 - by Susan L. Hura

Where's My Flight?

Studying use cases and context helps to improve self-service.
Posted 01 Nov 2011 - November/December 2011 - by Susan L. Hura

Irrationally Held Truths Take a Toll

When organizations make assumptions about customers, rather than collect real data, self-service applications suffer
Posted 01 Jul 2011 - July/August 2011 - by Susan L. Hura

Unhappily Ever After

A fable about the limits of expertise
Posted 01 Mar 2011 - March/April 2011 - by Susan L. Hura

Empathy, Dollars, and Sense

It's not enough to simply say you understand the customer.
Posted 01 Nov 2010 - November/December 2010 - by Susan L. Hura

Avatars Meet the Challenge

A SpeechTEK Europe session showed the appeal of the technology.

What Usability Testing Can't Tell Us

And when's the best time to get it done.
Posted 01 Jul 2010 - July/August 2010 - by Susan L. Hura

The Modality of Last Resort

Consider the IVR avoiders as well as the supporters.
Posted 08 Mar 2010 - March/April 2010 - by Susan L. Hura

Are You Happy When People Call?

We should be grateful when customers call us to complain.
Posted 01 Nov 2009 - November/December 2009 - by Susan L. Hura

IVRs and Traumatic Brain Injury

Situational awareness boosts system and company credibility.
Posted 27 Aug 2009 - September 2009 - by Susan L. Hura

Is Your Goal to Get Rid of Money?

Relying solely on industry standards sets the bar too low.
Posted 01 Jun 2009 - June 2009 - by Susan L. Hura

Are You Working Hard to Suck Less?

Instead, why not design something people are happy to use?
Posted 02 Apr 2009 - March/April 2009 - by Susan L. Hura

What Counts as VUI?

Learn the business rules before starting to design.
Posted 01 Nov 2008 - November/December 2008 - by Susan L. Hura

Getting Users to Do What We Want

Designers continually struggle with how to get the responses they need.
Posted 22 Aug 2008 - September 2008 - by Susan L. Hura

Psych! Don't Send Callers to a Web Site

They used their phones for a reason, so don't redirect them elsewhere.
Posted 01 Jun 2008 - June 2008 - by Susan L. Hura

Ethics in VUI Design

Offer advice that you can back up with evidence.
Posted 01 May 2008 - May 2008 - by Susan L. Hura

Are We There Yet?

The state of the user experience in the speech community.
Posted 01 Apr 2008 - April 2008 - by Susan L. Hura

A Tale of Two Conferences

Events point to an end of the 'us-versus-them' mentality.
Posted 25 Jan 2008 - January/February 2008 - by Susan L. Hura

How Good Is Good Enough?

Setting metrics for measuring the success of speech applications goes beyond recognition rates
Posted 30 Jan 2007 - January/February 2007 - by Susan L. Hura

Great Expectations

At the recent SpeechTEK conference, a group of VUI specialists spent a day defining a set of success criteria for speech-enabled user interfaces. We necessarily limited our focus to criteria for which we could define metrics for measuring each quality. However, this leaves out one vital factor for the success of a VUI: the role of expectation. I’m referring to the expectations that users have when they interact with a speech-enabled application, the expectations that…
Posted 07 Nov 2005 - November/December 2005 - by Susan L. Hura

Passing the Test

Far too companies experience disappointment and delays in realizing the value of speech because they fail to test properly. Dr. Susan L. Hura explains why the time and effort spent in proper testing is significantly less than the costs of going live with a problematic application.
Posted 25 Aug 2003 - September/October 2003 - by Susan L. Hura

The Value of Usability Testing for Speech-Enabled Applications

In an increasingly automated world, speech-enabled applications and services are often touted as a way for companies to provide a human touch in customer service without employing live agents. However, to be successful, automated speech applications must evolve quickly to meet the needs of consumers who expect highly effective, efficient solutions that are likable and quickly learned.
Posted 01 Sep 2002 - - by Susan L. Hura

Dragon Slays Robot

In his book Only the Paranoid Survive, Intel’s Andy Grove uses the term “strategic inflection point” to describe “what liberal arts people call a paradigm shift” - (basically, a point in time where a business can go one of two ways.) While the choice at the time may appear to be between two very similar paths, choosing the right one leads to great success, while the wrong choice can be catastrophic. For example, the development of the Internet and E-commerce confronts many marketers with a strategic inflection point.
Posted 31 Oct 1998 - October/November 1998 - by Susan L. Hura